The Quirky Life of P

Humor and satire revolving around Mr P- a fictional mix of an avatar of Mr Bean and the veritable Bertram Wooster of Wodehouse fame.

Archive for the tag “travel”

P is not for POTUS or for Putin

blimpThings were not looking good for P and he was worried when he returned to blogosphere after a long break. He had chosen to be known as P rather than by his name ‘Pillai’ which could also be translated as ‘baby’ in South Indian languages. But, quite a few things starting with the letter P were showing up in collusion and in bad light or even trying to silence P— stars, on the sly! And now there was this big baby blimp in a diaper going to be floating in the skies in London!

However, P had no intention of going anywhere overseas, let alone London, any time in the near future especially with all that was happening with immigration and border security. He worried that his visa may be cancelled for no reason. He worried that he could be separated from his family and be put in a detention centre. Times were so bad that, that was what was happening to kids these days! After all, his name suggested that he was a child too!

A big orange blimp, up in the sky;

It broke his heart, not to see it fly!

But with new rules and travel ban,

P worried about his dark skin and tan!


Staying home was not much fun,

But safer than a trip to London.

For times were bad and children sad,

Separated from mums and dads!






Murder on the train

Overheard: This week’s writing challenge revolves around eavesdropping.

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P had been ill at ease with the night travel by train in India, especially when he did not get tickets for the air-conditioned compartment and had to travel second class with the windows left open to counter the heat. It was not helpful that only the previous day, he had watched the film ‘Madras mail’, which was about a murder on a train. Tired, he had however nodded off and was woken as the train jerked to a stop at a station.  As he lay there with his eyes still shut, slowly drifting off to sleep, he was jolted by the sound of a slap. He kept his eyes closed and listened…

Child’s voice: “Kill him, mummy, Kill him!”

Woman’s whisper: “Hush! I don’t want you to wake up everybody on the train!”

Through half-opened eyes, P slowly peeped at the family of three on the opposite berth, travelling in the same cubicle. The dim light was still turned on and he could discern the figure of the man slouching by the window, probably fast asleep.

The woman was now looming over the husband with her hand slightly raised as the tot stood by her side, anxiously whispering “Get him mummy, get him!”…

P was shocked to hear the child say those words… He couldn’t believe a child could be so evil!… But then he remembered the famous film, “Omen” and he shuddered.New Picture (19)

The woman was now leaning towards her husband and as her raised hand came down in a slap, P cringed and shut his eyes…

Child’s voice: “Did you kill him?”

Man’s voice: “What the…?”

Child’s voice: “Did he escape again?”

Woman’s voice: “Yes, Dennis. And stop calling the mosquito “him” and “he”. It is an “it”…

P breathed a sigh of relief…

The woman was trying to kill a mosquito… and not her husband!

Unless of course, by the term “mosquito”, she was alluding to her husband…




P’s woes with customs! Lest he forgets…

New PictureNew Picture (3)From Adelaide to Auckland on his flight, P stopped over in Melbourne;

He ate his lunch of sandwiches, but the pear was left alone

In his bag obliviously, the pear flew to the city of sails

There at the airport before customs, P stood biting out his nails:

He had forgotten all about the uneaten, neglected pear

And failed to mention the fruit in his customs questionnaire;

Though not jailed, he had to pay a hefty sum as fine!

So now in transit P never takes fruits with him to dine.

Lest he forgets………..




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If you would ask Mr P to mention some scary things he has done in his life, he would say it was passing through customs and immigration and border security at the various international airports during his travels. No matter how many times he had done this during his frequent travels, he was a nervous wreck as he passed through these checks. 

Every time, he felt that the officers who checked his passport and looked into his eyes were trying to read his deepest secrets and did not like what they saw! Under their piercing scrutiny, just the thought of the Tylenol and Paracetamol tablets he carried for headaches, made him feel as though he was carrying something illegal. Whenever they asked him about the purpose of his travel, he felt that they believed he had some evil plans. This made P so nervous that his replies often came out in a squeaky voice. P would struggle to correct his voice to their next question and it would then come out as a hoarse grunt. Suffice to say that all this combined with his fidgeting made him appear as a suspicious character. So, very often he was subjected to strong scrutiny and checking.  Often he was asked to remove his shoes and he was pat-checked. Then at the airport there were those sniffer dogs. After that incident on his travel to New Zealand when he had to pay a fine of NZ$ 200 for carrying a forgotten pear in his bag from the lunch at Melbourne, he was very careful. He understood how much New Zealand customs hated plant material……… in the luggage. So he had made sure that he was not carrying any plant material to that country. Yet on one travel, this little sniffer dog had hounded him and the customs officer had detained him and thoroughly checked his bags before the problem was identified as some residual smell from the bananas he used to carry for lunch in his briefcase to work. Until he was allowed to proceed, he had felt that every eye in the airport was on him, scornfully wondering what drugs he was carrying in his bags! 

P had been deeply embarrassed by this incident and so bought a brand new “American Tourister” bag from Wal-Mart to carry as cabin bag on his next trip. On reaching Auckland airport, Mr P rested his new bag on the floor and was in the process of collecting his checked in luggage from the conveyor belt when a sniffer dog came a-sniffing at his bag! “Not again!” thought Mr P as the customs officer followed and started examining his bag. The officer started questioning Mr P on the contents and kept asking if Mr P had any fruits in the bag within the past few days. “No, Never”, he replied. “Just to avoid this situation I left at home my regular briefcase in which I take my lunch to work. This is a brand new bag that I bought just yesterday!”

“Ah! That explains it!” said the officer. “Sometimes this sniffer dog falsely alerts to the smell of new bags!” 

P stood agape! “One can never win with immigration, customs and border security!” he realised. “You could not avoid suspicion if you traveled with your old fruity smelling bag. Can you not travel with a new one either? Life was tough.”

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In Transit

Ode to the mundu

Welcome, Stranger

Think about the town where you currently live: its local customs, traditions, and hangouts, its slang. What would be the strangest thing about this place for a first-time visitor?

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If you are a stranger in my town,

Don’t let your brow be marred by a frown

If you see men walking in skirts

With T or dress or full sleeved shirts;

For skirts they are not, but wrap around

Mundus or lungis that are weather sound!

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No confinement to free-flowing air

For hot summers, they’re a choice attire!

The bottom  lifted, folded and tucked,

In the monsoons they don’t get mucked!

But before elders, ladies and as a sign of respect

The folds are let down, one should expect!New Picture (3)

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Welcome Stranger

Stumped by the mathematics of time….

Curve Balls: When was the last time you were completely stumped by a question, a request, or a situation you found yourself in? How did you handle it?- Daily Prompt

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It had been a jolly vacation for Mr P and he was all packed up to travel back to New Zealand from India. He had enjoyed the balmy atmosphere and the beaches but now he was rearing to go back home to cool New Zealand. Mr P had decided that this trip back should be a well organised one and free of hassles. His plane was scheduled to depart at 12.45 am on 11 July from Chennai International Airport in South India. P was in a small town and had to take a connecting domestic flight to Chennai to catch the plane to Auckland. It would take him roughly one hour to reach Chennai by flight.

P was well on time for the domestic flight that left at 6 am on the 11th of July and reached Chennai right on time, at 7.05 am. Everything seemed to go so smoothly quite contradictory to what was the norm with Mr P and he patted himself. There was even time for P to take a stroll in the city and buy some souvenirs before he took a taxi to the international airport. P reached the airline check-in counter at 9.30 am and gave the officer his ticket and passport.

“Your plane is long gone sir!” said the officer.

“It can’t be so!” said Mr P. “My flight is at 12.45 am on the 11th”

“Today is the 11th and the flight did leave at 12.45 am, shortly after midnight last night.” said the officer.

P was simply stumped! He had believed his mathematics was good! His plane was at 12.45 am on the 11th of July and he had booked and caught the connecting domestic flight as early as 6 am on the 11th of July! He just could not understand how he could have missed the flight……..


Curve Balls

Dances with elephants-Mr P takes a joy ride!

There is nothing wrong in dreaming about riding an elephant! Mr P wanted to ride an elephant, get his picture taken in that glory, and post it on Facebook. This wish had budded in his mind ever since he saw the movie Bride and Prejudice, where the hero and heroine rode on an elephant in the last scene. Mr P had thought it was pretty cool!

So this time on his tour to India, P visited the elephant park at Kottoor in Kerala. As soon as he reached the place, P booked his ride straight away. He was given a time to turn up at a spot for his ride and in the meantime, P decided to take a walk around the park. He saw several elephants – they ranged from very young, hairy ones to huge giants. It was then that P realized that all of a sudden he was actually getting quite nervous about riding an elephant. P began to feel that he needed to keep at a distance from them, even from the baby ones. The baby elephants were too playful and seemed to want to tickle his ears with their trunks! As for the big, adult elephants, he felt them giving him such deep looks as if they knew all his darkest secrets! Of course he had heard about how intelligent elephants were.


He now started having serious reservations about the elephant ride but was worried that if he withdrew now, it would make him look like a coward.  So, when the time came, he made his way to the location with shaking legs. The mahout was waiting for him with a huge elephant.


Faint heartedly, P gazed at the large mammal which seemed to give him a mean, disdainful look.

“Can I have a ride on that elephant?” Mr P asked pointing to a frolicking baby elephant that stood some distance away.


“Oh! No sir! It is too small to carry people. We only use adult elephants for rides,” said the mahout.

With no way of escape, P decided to climb on top of the giant that had now bent down on its knees at the instance of the mahout.

“If Tarzan can do it, so can I,” muttered Mr P as he proceeded to mount.

Climbing onto the back of an elephant was indeed a feat and after several aborted attempts, P finally made it to the top. As the elephant stood up erect, he sat astride on its back. Those who have sat astride on top of an elephant would realize how wide apart you have to keep your legs! It was almost like doing the splits!


As the elephant moved forward, P felt very uncomfortable, so much so that he decided to change his position to side-straddle. Slowly he moved his legs around and finally managed to get them both together and down on one side of the elephant. However, on sitting sideways he found that he had moved too much to one side. As the elephant walked, P kept slithering and sliding further down the side of the elephant every time it moved. His silky, smooth track pants only aggravated the situation.

P decided that falling down from the top of an elephant would not be an enjoyable experience. So a flustered Mr P then decided to return back to his original position and sit astride. He started moving his legs around once more. However, he had lost his sense of orientation in his anxiety and when he finished adjusting his seating, he found that he was sitting astride facing the tail end of the elephant! So P started to turn around again.

Changing one’s position atop a moving elephant is not an easy task for a person riding an elephant for the first time, but misfortune had not glanced his way, ……. yet. With the last move however, P nearly fell off and was saved only by grabbing the rope around the elephant’s neck. Somehow he maneuvered himself back on top. He was now lying prostrate on top of the elephant, facing its tail end and hugging the animal for dear life. Hearing a loud applause he slowly lifted up his head and saw that he had gathered a huge audience. A big crowd had gathered and was watching P’s antics on top of the elephant. No one could be blamed if they thought they were watching an atop-the-elephant-acrobatic show and were showing their appreciation with a loud ovation.

The elephant and the mahout however, had no such conceptions. The stressed probiscidean was getting very nervous and the mahout decided to end the joy ride. Very soon (though it felt like eternity to P), the elephant stopped moving and the mahout got it to kneel down. He gathered brave Mr P from the back of the animal. P had nearly fainted. A big cheering from the crowd got P standing up on his wobbly legs to acknowledge their appreciation but saw that the applause was intended for the elephant and the mahout. With an end to all the wriggling on its back, the Elephas maximus indicus breathed a deep sigh of relief and stood up.  The mahout and the elephant looked traumatised as they slowly walked away. They probably would need counselling! No pictures or videos were taken, so Facebook missed a hilarious upload!


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